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12 Dorm-Friendly Exercises To Get Your Sweat On



Two beds, two desks, and two roomies, all within 200 square feet of space. That leaves about, well, two more feet for you to partially roll out your yoga mat and get a dorm room workout in. Needless to say, your dorm is probably the least ideal space for a workout. A simple bird-dog stretch requires your left arm to be thrust into your closet while your right leg is wedged under your bed. Plus, one wrong move and you’re banging a limb into the side of your microwave. But, sometimes it’s the only option. A busy class schedule and your anxious avoidant behavior toward your gym crush are enough reasons to move the microwave onto your bed for a 30-minute workout.

But, your dorm workout doesn’t need to double as a game of dorm furniture Tetris. You can get your sweat on without bruising your legs or bothering your downstairs neighbors. I’m a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor who has taught workout classes at my college’s fitness center for three years. And, nearly all of my attendees are students fleeing their dorms to get some movement into their lives. But, a midday HIIT class isn’t always the most accessible or desired option. So, I’ve created a list of dorm-friendly, standing exercises that take no space, no equipment, and make very little noise. With a dialed-in workout routine, your dorm room can become your own personal gym.


This squat-to-crunch combination fires up your whole body. Squat at 90 degrees with your feet shoulder-width apart and crunch with opposite arms and legs.

reverse lunge to knee drive

Use the strength and energy in your glutes to thrust out of the lunge and into the knee drive. Imagine that you’re going to jump, but stop yourself at the top of the movement.

single-leg squat taps

These single-leg taps work your entire lower body with an emphasis on hip stabilization and balance.

squat variations

Each squat variation targets a different set of muscles. Narrow squats target quads, normal squats target glutes, and sumo squats target hamstrings.

curtsy lunges

Engage your quads, glutes, and hip abductors all in one with curtsy lunges.

squat jump alternatives

Perform a traditional squat with your feet at shoulder-width apart and launch upward onto your toes. Similarly to the reverse lunge to knee drive, imagine that you are going to jump, but stop yourself at the top of the motion.

calf raises

Calf raises are an easy way to isolate your calf muscles. For an added challenge, keep your heels from touching the ground between reps.

arm circles

Keep your arms up and your shoulders down. Arm circles might seem easy, but you’ll very quickly feel the burn.

chair dips

Put that dorm chair to use! While keeping a straight back, dip until your arms are at 90 degrees and push back up using your triceps.

tricep extensions

Make sure to perform these with bent knees, an engaged core, and a forward hinge with a straight back. Focus on isolating your tricep muscles.

goal post chest press

Create a goal post with your arms and squeeze them together, activating your chest muscles in the process.

side crunch

Using an aligned, upright posture, meet your elbow and knee in a side crunch position.

There you have it! Keep your body, mind, and downstairs neighbors happy with your new dorm-friendly exercise routine. These exercises engage your entire body without the fuss of trying to make enough space for a typical workout. So, the next time you have a quick break and are in the mood for some movement, look no further than the plot of carpet right next to your bed.

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